Welcome to IdeaJones.com

Articles, radio stories, ads, columns, corporate communications, novels or scripts – we’re never short of ideas. We also have a small shop at Etsy.com.


Joey Jones is the published author and editor of many newspaper and magazine articles, radio stories, advertisements and commentaries, and has ghostwritten everything from speeches to love letters. She is a past Nicholl Fellowships in Screenwriting semifinalist and Fade In: Screenwriting Awards quarterfinalist. She also gathers sound and conducts interviews as a freelance field producer in the Sacramento area, and her on-air performance as “The Dying Fish” can be heard in the Water Education commercial series.

Mark Jones makes a living producing radio shows (check out Connections on Capital Public Radio’s Music Station). As Martin Jenkins, he’s heard weekday evenings on CapRadio News, and Sunday mornings on 91.3FM KUOP Stockton/Modesto. Mark has also sung, acted and directed local theater and TV.


We’re about the story. Whether it’s the facts and figures of nonfiction, or the deeper truth of fiction, we want to find just the right words, sounds, and/or images to get it across.

We’re also about the process. “Do the work right, and on time.” Life’s too short to make things harder than they have to be.


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Happy Accidents

When something goes wonky, it’s hard to see what good will come of it. After all, there you are, your lovely plan scattered around you… what’s good about that? You liked that plan, maybe loved it. It was so pretty.

It’s so easy to get wedded to an idea. Some people are more wedded to ideas than they are to other people. A plan seems to solve a problem, after all. Letting go of it means your problem doesn’t seem to have an answer any more.

There’s an old story of a kid who saved his town from flooding when the dam cracked by sticking his finger in the dam. Great, plugged the hole, saved the town, but what was the plan for after that? When the kid got tired, his finger wiggled, a bit of water escaped… A lot of plans are like that. They’re fingers stuck into dam holes. And sometimes the finger isn’t big enough, or the person can’t stand there long enough, or nobody has a plan beyond that since the finger seems to be working. The dam starts to leak or just gives way. Then what?

In art, things go off on directions you hadn’t planned all the time. Sculptures you envisioned one way won’t do that, they do something else (Simran). Something you try doesn’t work at all (Patternmaker — a sculpture with a great idea that didn’t quite work, so I’m taking that same idea and doing it differently). Characters have minds of their own and won’t go where you are pushing them to go. Sure, you learn from your mistakes, but only if you’re willing to let go of the plan and look at what happened as objectively as you can.

I’m a planner. When we went to Orlando for the first time and Disney World wanted to know where we wanted to have dinner in six months, Mark was flummoxed (he can plan and in great detail, but in his personal life tends to be more spontaneous). I was excited by the idea that I could already know where I was having dinner in six months, so I could look forward to it. My sculptures are made through a very contemplative, gradual process, each step planned and performed carefully. I’m usually working toward deadlines a month or even a year or more in the future, which suits me fine. I was the nerd who did her homework right away and read ahead in the book, partially because I enjoy learning and partially because not crowding my deadlines seems to be in my DNA.

So when something makes that awful “SPROING! GRRRRRR! BOING!” noise, and a plan sits before me giving off puffs of smoke, it’s a challenge. What I’ve finally figured out is that in that moment, the first step is to let go. Let go of what I expected, even counted on, to happen. Then I can look at what I’ve got to work with. Somebody once told me that no one ever got anywhere he wanted to be by starting off from where he thought he was. You have to start from where you are, with what you have, as who you are. If you can manage it, you might be able to make something you really like from what you actually have. I haven’t perfected the technique, but I’m working on it.

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Right-of-way, Simplified

Amtrak arrival

trains have right-of-way over
emergency vehicles, which have right-of-way over
trucks, which have right-of-way over
cars, which have right-of-way over
motorcycles, which have right-of-way over
horses, which have right-of-way over
bicycles, which have right-of-way over
skateboards, which have right-of-way over

Legally? Not necessarily. But functionally, right-of-way is determined by a combination of inertia and maneuverability. Which is to say, to prevent a collision, know where you stand in the right-of-way hierarchy, and be prepared to give right-of-way whenever someone (especially someone with more mass and/or inertia than you) seems intent on taking it. You might be right in your assertion of your right-or-way, but if you don’t want to be *dead* right, show some respect for physics, and stay aware of your surroundings.

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Shades of Carmichael

Headed out to an event we’ve never been to before. Shades of Carmichael features about 80 hand-decorated market umbrellas, which will then be auctioned off as a fundraiser for the park and for the Sacramento Fine Arts Center. Joey has painted an umbrella for the event, and has also booked a table as a “vender” (sic), which means we’ll be at the mercy of the weather. We’ll take our portable pop-up shade, and the weather report says to expect warm but not hot temperatures, so we should be okay.

Here’s one of the focal points from the umbrella Joey painted:

Fingers crossed!



Event follow-up: Had a fine time. Weather was great, if a bit too breezy for our display materials. Lunch from the gyro truck on-site. Met some fun people, sold a painting (an owl based on the same Northern Saw-Whet owl seen above) and had some good arts talks. Only thing that would have made it better would have been more people in attendance.

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Challenge Met!

Last month, I challenged myself to create a new post here every day in June. I’m happy to report the challenge has been met.
I’m not sure all those posts have done much good. Did people see them? (The bots did, because there was a definite uptick in spam messages coming in to the site this past month.) Did people actually go to one of the art shows, or the CapRadio record sale? Did you at least consider some of the points I made (whether you agreed or not)?

Now that July is upon us, I’m not going to worry about posting each day. I might, but probably won’t. If the book (BOATS/RATS) is ever to be finished, we need to spend more time editing that than web posts. (I suppose I really should quit playing Candy Crush for a while, too.)

While I may post more musings or news here, I more want to have an update on the RATS page, or the ART page. Wish me luck! I will now quit congratulating myself on meeting the challenge, and get back to writing more substantive things.

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